THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER by Hazel Gaynor (Out Sept 9th)
From The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home comes a historical novel inspired by true events, and the extraordinary female lighthouse keepers of the past two hundred years.
*“*They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”
1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.
1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.
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THE FLIGHT OF THE WREN by Orla McAlinden.
Ireland, 1848. Orphaned Sally Mahon has a choice to make. Lie down and die on the graves of her parents, or join the throngs of the dispossessed on the highways of Ireland. She turns her steps to the nearby town of Newbridge in Kildare, where she will carve a future for herself or die trying.
Tasmania, 1919. Spanish Flu sweeps through Hobart, travelling across the oceans with the soldiers returning from the war in Europe. Saoirse Gordon sits by her Grandmother’s sickbed. As the old woman cries out in her delirium, will the secrets Saoirse learns bring her peace, or destroy her forever? Have her Grandmother, her great-aunt and her mother been lying to her all her life? Saoirse races against time, and her grandmother’s illness, to unravel the secrets of her family.
Inspired by true events, the tales of real Irish women and girls weave throughout this poignant blend of fact and fiction. The Flight of the Wren explores the impact of the Irish famine of 1845-1849 on the women of Ireland. Acts of desperation, betrayal, courage and love illuminate this dark chapter of Ireland’s history in a complex and beautiful novel. Winner of the Cecil Day Lewis award 2016 and joint winner of the Greenbean Novel Fair 2016 at the Irish Writers Centre.
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NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.
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A psychological drama of cat and mouse, A Ladder to the Sky shows how easy it is to achieve the world if you are prepared to sacrifice your soul.
If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career.
A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely.
Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them – or to whom they belong – as long as they help him rise to the top.
Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.
As a child Saoirse Corcoran was rejected. As an adult she is sought out by strangers. The reason for both is the same – her power.
Born in the mid-sixties to a mother who desperately wanted to keep her but couldn’t, put in an institutional crib and situation, she is visited by a guiding force who she will come to know in future days, who protects a baby born to survive inhuman treatment in a staunch Catholic society, and to change it with the strength of her life experience.
Saoirse’s mother Maisie, sleeps in a different part of St. Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home, sharing a collective sorrow that will haunt and mark Ireland’s social history. Saoirse is set apart from the beginning – marked with a psychic gift which serves as her greatest ally and strength against coming judgement and condemnation.
When Lil and Joe Corcoran adopt her, she is four months old with and ancient soul. There is the hope of happy ever after. At first, their love is unconditional, but then the deeper aspect of her nature triggers their great fear.
They reject her abilities, forcing her back into another convent, run by St. Agnes, who sees and treats Saoirse as evil. Saoirse holds onto the truth that love is the only property to heal an emotionally enslaved, repressed Ireland.
Her friendships give her hope. Her family become her greatest teachers. The search for her identity centres on her first shared sorrow, separated only by walls, a mother and her child who felt each other’s presence.
On a harrowing journey, Saoirse is drawn to the deepest bond of all which is still a mystery. She moves to re-unite, to find out who Maisie was and finds out more than who her mother was. She discovers what she knew all along, from the moment she was born. Her gift came from somewhere unknown and now returns to claim its source. She learns the name and nature of the presence that guarded her lonely crib.
Sharon Thompson is an Irish writer, living in Donegal. Her debut historical crime novel, ‘The Abandoned’ launched as a #1 Best-seller on Amazon on 25th January.
She has since signed for two more crime novels with publisher, Bloodhound Books UK. She co-founded #WritersWise trending tweet-chat and her details can be found on www.sharontwriter.com